Tureen (no cover), earthenware, 'Queens Ware' (creamware) , 'Australian Flora' series, transfer printed and hand painted, Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, Staffordshire, England, c 1882
No records survive in the Wedgwood archives to shed the light on the origin and production of the ┬?Australian Flora┬? creamware dinner services which were made by this leading English ceramics factory between 1879 and 1883. In addition to dinner, soup and dessert plates, these services incorporated large meat and serving platters, sauce boats and soup tureens. Individual pieces survive is several Australian and British collections but only three dinner services in the series are known to have been made: it is believed that one is still in Scotland and two sets have been located in Australia ┬? one consisting of 45 pieces and of an unconfirmed origin, and one for 12 people acquired about 1883 by Richard Duppa Lloyd in England after he returned from Naples. R D Lloyd was a well travelled English engineer and art connoisseur who had also lived in Sydney between 1868 and 1873.
These plates are from the Lloyd dinner service which was passed on - most likely after R D Lloyd┬?s death - to his nephew Charles Campbell Lloyd. Captain Campell Lloyd brought the service with him to Sydney after WW1 where it was treasured and most likely used only on special occasions. Clearly its rarity and historical significance were well appreciated, as he donated 3 plates to the New South Wales Applied Arts Trust (now part of this Museum┬?s collection: 182a) in 1927. The remaining pieces in the service were inherited by family members and dispersed across Australia. Most components of the Lloyd service seem to be still surviving and 6 pieces were donated to this Musuem in 2011.
While Wedgwood archives have no known production records of ┬?Australian Flora┬? series, three A3-size sheets with 12 painted designs of Australian flowers were located about 2001. While the plant arrangements, combinations and colours do not correspond exactly to the actual prints found on the pieces from the series, they were definitely the source of Wedgwood┬?s 'Australian Flora┬? decorations. More recent research has revealed that these designs were adapted from a series of 24 lithographed post cards issued in 1879 by the Sydney publisher Turner & Henderson to designs provided by Helena Forde and Harriet Scott, renowned Australian natural science collectors and illustrators. However, only Helena Forde's designs (the first 12 cards in the series of 24) were adapted by Wedgwood.
Interestingly, the production of the series coincided with the opening of Sydney showrooms of Wedgwood┬?s agent Thomas Webb & Sons in 1881. Whether a result of a special commission by a private individual with an interest in Australia (Richard Duppa Lloyd?) or by an agent, the ┬?Australian Flora┬? must have also been Wedgwood┬?s attempt to test the Australian market. With all pieces unique in their floral arrangements and individually hand painted, these wares must have been expensive. The rarity of the surviving pieces suggest that the market proved to be limited.
Eva Czernis-Ryl, 2011
J A Adeney, A O Landis, ┬?Australian Flora: Wedgwood dinner services for the Australian market?┬?, The Australian Wedgwood Society of New South Wales Review, no 2, 2001, pp 17-26.